January 9, 2012
- Solid, attractive design
- Extra long battery life
- Speedy performance
- Slightly heavier & larger than other ultrabooks
- Dim display brightness
- Gets quite hot during heavy use
Ultrabooks have become one of the most talked about tech trends as we head into 2012 and the HP Folio 13 is one of these new, sleek, ultraportable notebooks. It weighs only 3.2-pounds, has extra long battery life and speedy performance thanks to its Intel Core i5 CPU and 128GB solid-state hard drive.
The design of the HP Folio 13 is fairly plain, almost business-like, but we actually like that about it. The chassis sports an aluminum lid and deck with a brushed metal finish. Because of this, there's no place where fingerprints become an issue, which is always a smart design decision in our opinion. It measures 12.5 x 8.4 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.2-pounds, which is definitely both lighter and thinner than most 13-inch notebooks, but it is a little thicker than the other ultrabooks that have come out.
We found the island-style keyboard to be well-designed and adequately spaced. The keys gave good feedback with almost no flex. The keyboard is also backlit, which is a great feature that we love on the Apple MacBook Pros and similar notebooks. The touchpad, on the other hand, wasn't up to par. There are no discrete buttons but rather the whole pad is clickable, however, it requires a fairly large amount of force to get the pad to activate. The touchpad was large enough to perform multitouch gestures without any issues.
The HP Folio's 13-inch display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels. We found the display to be on the dim side, but it did produce noticeably sharp images. Viewing angles were average in both horizontal and vertical directions.
Some users may appreciate HP's decision to include a full-sized Ethernet port, which is something that most other ultrabooks forgo. There are also two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, headphone/microphone jacks and an SD card reader. A rather odd omission, however, is a Kensington lock port for securing the device to a table or other fixture, which some use at work or in public places.
The specifications of the HP Folio 13 include an Intel Core i5-2467M CPU (1.6GHz), 4GB of RAM, a 128GB Samsung SSD hard drive and integrated Intel graphics. The solid-state drive (SSD) provides speedy file transfer times and also a quick boot-up time of only 24 seconds in our tests, which beat out the category average by at least 50%.
We found the performance of the Folio 13 to be either on par with other ultrabooks or slightly faster. In our testing, we had no issues multitasking or watching streaming HD video on the Internet. Because it does have integrated graphics, don't expect to use this computer as a gaming system. We also noted that during periods of heavy use, the bottom of the laptop did get quite hot, so this one might not always be "lap friendly".
Battery life was well-above other ultrabooks that we've tested by at least 1.5 hours. We were able to squeeze out around 8 hours of life, which is definitely enough to get you through the school or work day.